Laura Davies will go for her fourth victory at the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen in Austria from September 7-9 this week.
Britain’s most recognised woman golfer will look to get back to her winning ways at Golfclub Föhrenwald in Wiener Neustadt, where won three times in a span of four years in 2007, 2008 and 2010 and finished second to Sweden’s Linda Wessberg in 2009.
The 48-year-old from Surrey, who shared 27th place last year, said: “The course suits my game very well as it enables me to hit a lot of drivers. My game is good but I need to hole some putts to have a chance.”
The 79-time tournament champion is still suffering from an injured Achilles tendon, aggravated whilst playing football during the Evian Masters in late July and added: “I’ve had a complete week off resting my ankle, which still hurts.”
The 2011 event champion, Caroline Hedwall of Sweden, is returning from a hip injury to defend the title and is joined by her twin sister Jacqueline who has received a sponsor’s invitation.
There are eight of this year’s Ladies European Tour champions in the field with England’s Melissa Reid, Wales’ Lydia Hall, Germany’s Caroline Masson, Denmark’s Line Vedel, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, Frenchwoman Anne-Lise Caudal, Scotland’s Carly Booth and Australian Karen Lunn, who are all trying to become multiple champions on tour this season, with the exception of current ISPS Handa order of merit leader Booth, who has won twice, in Scotland and Switzerland.
Austrian hopes lie with Stefanie Michl and Nicole Gergely, the 2009 Open de France champion, who was hampered by a thumb injury until recently.
Michl has a season-best tie for 13th in Germany and was tied for 14th at the recent ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters.
Fellow Austrian professional Eva Steinberger has received an invitation along with five amateurs from the Austrian Golf Federation ranking: Nina Mühl (ranked 2nd), Anja Purgauer (3rd), Marlene Krejcy (5th), Nicola Wolf (7th) and Sarah Schober (10th), Italian pair Alessandra Averna and Sophie Sandolo and Swiss player Fabienne In-Albon.
The golf course has been immaculately prepared for the eighth edition of the tournament by the greens staff under the leadership of Wayne Beasley.
A new 13th green has been opened next to the fourth hole, which will be considered the second signature hole on the course after the attractive par-three 16th, which plays over a lake. Recent additions also include new stone bridges on holes one, nine, 13, 17 and 18.
In total, 108 players will contest the 54-hole stroke play event with a 36-hole cut to leading 50 professionals and ties after round two.
The championship features 200,000 euro prize money with a 30,000 euro first prize. At the conclusion of the tournament at approximately 3pm on Sunday, a private jet will be waiting to whisk a handful of the leading players off to the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool.
The weather in Austria is set fair for the week however there will be a chance of some showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon. Drier and cooler conditions will move back in for the Pro Am on Thursday and continue through the weekend with highs ranging from 22-24 degrees Celsius and winds blowing from the north.
|The new 13th green